If you listened to the testimony of Keith Coleman Jr. on the stand Friday, it was a comletely different story than the one he told in January at the first trial in the deaths of April Jones and Will Polk.
Coleman and Jayme Lynn Tubbs are in the midst of a retrial in the 2019 double homicide. According to testimony, Polk and Jones were decapitated and dismembered, and their bodies were dumped in the woods while their heads and hands were disposed of in separate areas. Only Polk’s remains have been found.
The names, dates, and places are all the same, but the summary of events was a world apart. Last trial he told about how he kept shooting Jones, but “she wouldn’t go down.” This time, he talked about how she was walking and suddenly Chelsea Golden, his chid’s mother, snapped and gunned her down with a 22 rifle, also killing Polk.
He disputed the allegation — which has been rock solid — that he walked in and told Golden at gunpoint, “Get up, we’re going to kill April.”
In Coleman’s story Friday, he was the hero, dismembering the bodies in order to protect the mother of his child, saying it would be better for little Keith Coleman III to be with his mother.
Golden’s story didn’t waver from last trial when she testified on Thursday. She and Cierra Wheeler, Coleman’s other live-in girlfriend, practically her sister-wife, showed solidarity in standing against the man they said had mentally, emotionally, and physically abused them, even broken their facial bones.
But in Coleman’s account on Friday he had never laid a hand on them. Until he did.
“You know, she’d jump on me, I’d jump on her,” he said of Golden.
Jayme Lynn Tubbs, his co-defendant, wavered between testifying and not, finally electing not to tell her side of the story.
In rebuttal, the state put Chief Deputy Peter Clinton back on the stand to testify to Coleman’s confession in which he admitted to the shootings, and said Jones had stolen $18,000 worth of his meth, which he allegedly told Clinton was definitely worth killing for. In Friday’s testimony, it was only $2,000.
The case was expected to go to the jury Friday, but vigorous debate over whether there should be an option for a manslaughter charge should the jury elect not to convict of murder drew out the evening and the jury was finally sent home.
Closing arguments begin Saturday morning at 9.